When Servius, aroused by the alarming announcement, came in during this harangue, immediately from the porch of the senate-house, he says with a loud voice, “What means this, Tarquin? by what audacity hast thou dared to summon the fathers, while I am still alive?
or to sit on my throne?” To this, when he fiercely replied “that he, the [p. 64]
son of a king, occupied the throne of his father, a much fitter successor to the throne than a slave; that he (Servius) had insulted his masters full long enough by his arbitrary shuffling,” a shout arises from the partisans of both, and a rush of the people into the senate-house took place, and it became evident that whoever came off victor would have the throne.
Then Tarquin, necessity itself now obliging him to have recourse to the last extremity, having much the advantage both in years and strength, seizes Servius by the middle, and having taken him out of the senate-house, throws him down the steps to the bottom. He then returns to the senate-house to assemble the senate.
The king's officers and attendants fly. He himself, almost lifeless, when he was returning home with his royal retinue frightened to death, and had arrived at the top of the Cyprian street, is slain by those who had been sent by Tarquin, and had overtaken him in his flight.
As the act is not inconsistent with her other marked conduct, it is believed to have been done by Tullia's advice. Certain it is, (for it is readily admitted,) that driving into the forum in her chariot, and not abashed by the crowd of persons there, she called her husband out of the senate-house, and was the first to style him king;
and when, on being commanded by him to withdraw from such a tumult, she was returning home, and had arrived at the top of the Cyprian street, where Diana's temple lately was, as she was turning to the right to the Orbian hill, in order to arrive at the Esquiline, the person who was driving, being terrified, stopped and drew in the reins, and pointed out to his mistress the murdered Servius as he lay.
On this occasion a revolting and inhuman crime is stated to have been committed, and the place is a monument of it. They call it the Wicked Street, where Tullia, frantic and urged on by the furies of her sister and husband, is reported to have driven her chariot over her father's body, and to have carried a portion of her father's body and blood to her own and her husband's household gods, herself also being stained and sprinkled with it; through whose vengeance results corresponding to the wicked commencement of the reign were soon to follow.
Tullius reigned forty-four years in such a manner that a competition with him would prove difficult even for a good and moderate successor.
But this also has been an accession to his glory, that with him [p. 65]
perished all just and legitimate reigns. This authority, so mild and so moderate, yet, because it was vested in one, some say that he had it in contemplation to resign,1
had not the wickedness of his family interfered with him whilst meditating the liberation of his country.